Written by Benjamin Davis
It’s definitely still possible for independent artists to achieve success on their own. However, it takes hard work, dedication, and a strong understanding of the industry to succeed. This article outlines the benefits and challenges of being an independent artist and offers tips for building and maintaining a fanbase, and effectively promoting and distributing your music.
Benefits and challenges of being an independent artist
Being an independent artist can be both rewarding and challenging. On the positive side, being independent allows you to have complete control over your career and your art. You get to make your own decisions about your music and how you want to present it to the world. You also get to keep a larger share of the profits from your music, since you don't have to split them with a record label.
However, being an independent artist also comes with its own set of challenges. Without the backing of a label, you'll have to handle all aspects of your career yourself, including promotion, distribution, and financing. It can be difficult to get your music heard and to build a fanbase without the support of a label. Additionally, you may have to invest more time and money upfront in order to get your career off the ground. Despite these challenges, many independent artists are able to find success by working hard, being creative, and building strong connections in the music industry.
- Independence: As an independent artist, you have complete control over your music and career. You can choose your own direction and make decisions that align with your artistic vision.
- Higher profit margin: When you're not signed to a label, you get to keep a larger share of the profits from your music. This can be especially beneficial if you're able to build a successful career as an independent artist.
- Flexibility: Being independent allows you to be more flexible in your career. You can try out different genres, styles, and formats without being tied to a specific label or contract.
- Lack of support: Without the backing of a label, you'll have to handle all aspects of your career yourself. This can be a big undertaking and may require a lot of time and effort.
- Difficulty getting heard: Without the support of a label, it can be harder to get your music heard by a wide audience. You'll need to find creative ways to promote and distribute your music.
- Limited resources: As an independent artist, you may have limited resources compared to a signed artist. This may make it more difficult to finance your music and cover the costs of touring and other expenses.
Tips for building and maintaining a fanbase as an independent artist
- Utilise social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and the other thousands of social media that are available now, can be incredibly powerful tools for connecting with fans. Use them to share your music, updates, and behind-the-scenes content.
- Social media allows you to grow and connect with your fanbase, get feedback and overall can help you improve as a musician and content creator.
- Play live shows: Playing live shows is a great way to reach new people and build your audience. Start by playing small local shows and as you grow you can gradually work your way up to larger venues.
- Collaborate with other artists: Collaborating with other artists can help expose your music to a new audience. Consider reaching out to artists in your genre or artists who have a similar style to see if they're interested in working together.
- Engage with your fans: Building a fanbase is about more than just promoting your music. Take the time to engage with your fans on social media, respond to their comments and messages, and make them feel like a part of your journey.
How to effectively promote and distribute your music
There are many ways to effectively promote and distribute your music as an independent artist. Here are a few tips:
- Utilise streaming platforms: Streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are an essential way for independent artists to reach a wider audience. Make sure your music is available on as many platforms as possible.
- Use social media: Social media platforms can be a powerful tool for promoting your music. Share your music, updates, and behind-the-scenes content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
- Partner with music blogs and websites: Many music blogs and websites are always on the lookout for new artists to feature. Consider reaching out to them to see if they would be interested in featuring your music.
- Release your music on a consistent basis: Consistently releasing new music will help keep your fans engaged and attract new listeners. Consider setting a schedule for releasing new music and stick to it.
- Use email marketing: Email is a powerful tool for promoting your music. Consider collecting email addresses from on social media or when they purchase your music and use an email marketing service to send updates and promotions to your email list.
- Email is an interesting and underutilised method of promotion for smaller musicians but offers a great opportunity to share more personal or behind-the-scenes experiences with die-hard fans.